Issuu on Google+

January 2013 Issue 24

2013 SEASON HAS Arrived

LL ED BU R Y E DUNG Y RIDER RYAN CTOR A F M KT

KEN DE DYCKER INTERVIEW

MAX NAGL INTERVIEW

JOSH HILL INTERVIEW

GEORGES JOBE TRIBUTE

MXILLUSTRATED THE WORLDS LEADING FREE MX E-MAGAZINE


DECADE EUROPE/7'2I多FLDO8.GLVWULEXWRURI


)RU'HDOHUHQTXLULHVFRQWDFW_w:ZZZGHFDGHHXURSHFRP_e:LQIR#GHFDGHHXURSHFRP_t:


CON

Ken De George Josh Hi Mark B Gallerie Max Na Dave T Tinus N

Cover image of Ryan Dungey and contents image of Marvin Musquin are both from Simon Cudby. Publisher and Founder: Geoff Meyer mxlarge@live.nl Design: Geoff Meyer Photography: Ray Archer, Redeye, Frank Hoppen, Simon Cudby, Paul Buckley, Geoff Meyer, Stanley Leroux Contributors: Tinus Nel, Dave Thorpe, Eric Johnson, Geoff Meyer Advertising: Meyer Publishing mxlarge@live.nl Copyright Meyer Publishing 2012


NTENTS

e Dycker Page 16 es Jobe Page 26 ill Page 40 Barnett Page 46 es Page 56 agl Page 82 Thorpe Page 94 Nel Page 98

Ken

KEN DE DYCKER

STILL LEARNING Story By Geoff Meyer Images By Ray Archer

KEN DE DYCKER

De Dycker is a very easy going, happy guy. A young Belgian simply looking at enjoying his racing and trying to make a career out of something that comes rather easy to him. Having raced for teams such as Sarholtz Honda, CAS Honda, Teka Suzuki, Monster Energy Yamaha, LS Honda, and now the Red Bull KTM Factory team he knows a little about the passage to the top. It has been the lessons of life and experiences that have made De Dycker one of the truly interesting characters of the FIM World Motocross Championships. His long legs and strong build make his riding style look so different from many of his competition and it seems everyone loves watching the friendly Belgian race. While many look at Antonio Cairoli as the man to beat in the 2013 FIM World MX1 Championship quietly and in his own way De Dycker is preparing for what he hopes will be the standout season of his career. De Dycker who has worked closely with Cairoli in the off-season, practicing a lot and learning along the way he knows that

improvement is a necessity otherwise the little Italian will walk away with his seventh World Motocross Championship. The tall Belgian joined the Red Bull KTM Factory team in 2012 and quickly came to terms with the orange machine. Scoring podiums finishes and fifth in the season ending standings. While a top five finish is impressive, De Dycker started the season without any preparation on the KTM having changes from the LS Honda team just weeks be fore the season started. The question is can De Dycker learn enough from the little master to enter 2013 with enough improvement to try and win Belgium their first World Motocross Championship in six years. We caught up with Ken De Dycker as he was preparing for the season in Rome. Motocross Illustrated: Ken, how is the off-season training going? Have you been doing a lot with Antonio? De Dycker: Most of the time we do things together, riding the bike and we can learn a few things and we are pushing each other while training and riding, even now more than last year. I think for both of us it is a good thing and for me seeing him riding and how easy he does it makes me want to also try doing it that way. Training we push each other and one day I won’t like it when I follow him or go faster. Motocross Illustrated: Antonio is an easy going guy and I know you are also. How do you two get on together? De Dycker: We get along well, we go eating together, do fun things together and that side of the Motocross racing its good, I mean you are alone on the bike, but if you can help each other and get along well it is much better for the team and also for the people around the team. Motocross Illustrated: Did you expect it to go so well? De Dycker: I expected us to get on well before I joined the team. The years before I always saw him talking to people and even with all his success he still acts normal and hasn’t changed. He doesn’t have a big head and that is how I like to be also. Motocross Illustrated: What in your opinion makes Antonio better than the rest? De Dycker: He is just so relaxed and on

PAGE 16 JOSH HILL ANOTHER COMEBACK Story By Eric Johnson Images By Simon Cudby In my office, Josh Hill, sitting in a chair and munching on a bag of SnackWells and drinking a can of “old scho ol” Hansen’s Natural Energy (the precursor to Monster Energy) reflected on his day at the Suzuki test track. Now part of the recently christened RCH Suzuki team (owned and operated by 15-time AMA Champion Ricky Carmichael and Freestyle Motocross icon Carey Hart), Hill, after an almost mercilessly run of bad luck, injuries and medical challenges, was in go od spirits, now healed up, healthy and at “100%” for the 2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series.

JOSH HILL

PAGE 41

MAX NAGL HIS TIME FOR A CHANGE STORY GEOFF MEYER IMAGES HONDA RACING

German rider Max Nagl had a very up and down season in 2012. Starting the GP’s on the sidelines with an injured back the veteran came back into the series at mid-point and quickly showed that he is as fast as just about anyone. Having ridden for the Red Bull KTM Factory team for several seasons it was a big surprise to Nagl that he wouldn’t be involved in 2013. A few injuries in the last couple of years and Ken De Dycker showing go od speed as a replacement rider for Nagl ended up being enough for KTM to end their association with the friendly Nagl. Just like he has done throughout his career though Nagl lo oked forward and set new goals. Now with the Honda World Motocross team Nagl is finding out that change is go od and he is working hard to improve on what was already go od form. We caught up with Nagl at his home in Germany and talked to him about the new Honda 450 and also his past with KTM and their lead rider Antonio Cairoli.

MAX NAGL

PAGE 81


apico.co.uk 01282 473 190


KEN DE DYCKER

STILL LEARNING Story By Geoff Meyer Images By Ray Archer


Ken

De Dycker is a very easy going, happy guy. A young Belgian simply looking at enjoying his racing and trying to make a career out of something that comes rather easy to him. Having raced for teams such as Sarholtz Honda, CAS Honda, Teka Suzuki, Monster Energy Yamaha, LS Honda, and now the Red Bull KTM Factory team he knows a little about the passage to the top. It has been the lessons of life and experiences that have made De Dycker one of the truly interesting characters of the FIM World Motocross Championships. His long legs and strong build make his riding style look so different from many of his competition and it seems everyone loves watching the friendly Belgian race. While many look at Antonio Cairoli as the man to beat in the 2013 FIM World MX1 Championship quietly and in his own way De Dycker is preparing for what he hopes will be the standout season of his career. De Dycker who has worked closely with Cairoli in the off-season, practicing a lot and learning along the way he knows that

improvement is a necessity otherwise the little Italian will walk away with his seventh World Motocross Championship. The tall Belgian joined the Red Bull KTM Factory team in 2012 and quickly came to terms with the orange machine. Scoring podiums finishes and fifth in the season ending standings. While a top five finish is impressive, De Dycker started the season without any preparation on the KTM having changes from the LS Honda team just weeks be fore the season started. The question is can De Dycker learn enough from the little master to enter 2013 with enough improvement to try and win Belgium their first World Motocross Championship in six years. We caught up with Ken De Dycker as he was preparing for the season in Rome. Motocross Illustrated: Ken, how is the off-season training going? Have you been doing a lot with Antonio? De Dycker: Most of the time we do things together, riding the bike and we can learn a few things and we are pushing each other while training and riding, even now more than last year. I think for both of us it is a good thing and for me seeing him riding and how easy he does it makes me want to also try doing it that way. Training we push each other and one day I won’t like it when I follow him or go faster. Motocross Illustrated: Antonio is an easy going guy and I know you are also. How do you two get on together? De Dycker: We get along well, we go eating together, do fun things together and that side of the Motocross racing its good, I mean you are alone on the bike, but if you can help each other and get along well it is much better for the team and also for the people around the team. Motocross Illustrated: Did you expect it to go so well? De Dycker: I expected us to get on well before I joined the team. The years before I always saw him talking to people and even with all his success he still acts normal and hasn’t changed. He doesn’t have a big head and that is how I like to be also. Motocross Illustrated: What in your opinion makes Antonio better than the rest? De Dycker: He is just so relaxed and on


the bike nobody can pressure him, if he has his mind to it he can beat everyone and I think that is his advantage. Motocross Illustrated: What have you learnt the most from him as a team-mate? De Dycker: The main thing I have learnt is to relax. We train together and I see it more and more this year and that is something I will try and do in the first races. Being more relaxed means you can breathe better and you don’t lose your energy and that is something he is really good at, and you see it at the end of the races, he always has something extra with his energy. Motocross Illustrated: How would you compare KTM to your other factory experience at Suzuki? De Dycker: I consider this similar to Suzuki, the team situation, but with Suzuki I was younger and CAS Honda was privateer with help from the factory. I have been through the factory experience with Suzuki and was younger, and I have had a couple of poorer seasons and now I feel wiser and my concentration is much better. I am fitter than ever before and this team and bike is the best thing I could have for 2013 and the best thing there is. Motocross Illustrated: You always seemed to lack something to get to the next level. In the past were you as well prepared as you are now? De Dycker: No not really, I think every year when the season stops I look forward to the new season and I always train hard in the winter, but the past years we didn’t have the material and I didn’t have the good attitude because of that, and we didn’t have good training. This year, with Claudio De Carli and everyone at KTM we have everything we need to succeed. There is nothing missing in preparation and we can finish first and second. Motocross Illustrated: Does Antonio get preference over you in the team? De Dycker: Antonio has been around a lot long with this team and of course I have the 450 and Antonio has the 350. He might get treated a little better from Claudio, but of course they have a long relationship and that is expected and I am not jealous of that at all. Motocross Illustrated: Belgium hasn’t had a World Motocross Champion since Steve Ramon in 2007. Do you think about that at all? De Dycker: I don’t think about the history, I am just thinking about how I can prepare for the season and improving all the time. The year I stay the same I can better retire. I feel I am learning more and more and am getting better and better and that is all I care about. Motocross Illustrated: In a lot of people’s eyes you made big improvements in 2012, do you feel it was a better season than in the past? De Dycker: Last year was a very good year, maybe with Suzuki I had a similar season, with some GPs wins, but to switch to KTM at the beginning of the season and then changing from the old KTM to the new KTM and having good consistent results, that was really enjoyable for me and I feel it was a really good season. It wasn’t easy in Valkenswaard having never tested the KTM and just racing it, and I did well, so that was very rewarding for me as


a rider. Motocross Illustrated: What do you need to do to beat Antonio in 2013? De Dycker: I have to work harder to get to his level and do more in preparation than he does, but everyone is beatable and if I feel I can’t beat him then I should stop racing. I feel as though we can have some good close races in 2013 and I hope we can have some good battles and I can come out on top. Motocross Illustrated: What about Clement Desalle, he is like you Belgian and like you in a position to fight with Antonio, but last year he lacked something. What is your opinion of Clement? De Dycker: I think Clement didn’t have much luck in 2012, but in 2011 he had the injuries. For what he does and how he is, I see him as being motivated, he might relax more as he gets older and I think that will help him and he has a good shot this season. He has raced with Antonio and beaten him and Clement is somebody who really works hard and doesn’t give up. Motocross Illustrated: Do you think much about the competition, or just your own thing? De Dycker: I only really think about my own results, and I know if I am close to Antonio in training and practice and if that stays the same then I will be okay for the races. I think he has been the best for a few years now and I know how it is going in training with him and I know I am not that far off his pace, so we will see what is possible in 2013. Motocross Illustrated: What is your race calendar for 2013? De Dycker: I will do the 18 rounds of the World Championship, also the three Italian Championships and the Belgian Championships. I look forward to the first two


races, in Qatar and Thailand. For the European fans it is a pity that the racing is outside Europe, but riding under the lights will be interesting. Motocross Illustrated: Do you look forward to travelling to places like Qatar and Thailand? De Dycker: I am not the type of guy who is really into travelling to other countries; I just go there to race. I don’t get excited about seeing the cultures, I just go there to race and before the races I just want to prepare for the GP and then fly back as quickly as possible. Motocross Illustrated: Obviously we lost Georges Jobe a little while ago; did you have much to do with Georges? De Dycker: I had spoken to Georges sometimes. He was a fighter as a rider and even after his career when he came back from that crash and then when he was sick he was fighting hard. He was one of the strongest guys from Belgium and it is sad that he has passed away/


DECADE EUROPE/7'2I多FLDO8.GLVWULEXWRURI-75$&,1*


)RU'HDOHUHQTXLULHVFRQWDFW_w:ZZZGHFDGHHXURSHFRP_e:LQIR#GHFDGHHXURSHFRP_t: 01792-469811


GEORGES JOBE A FIGHTER UNTIL THE END STORY BY GEOFF MEYER IMAGES BY GEOFF MEYER When news leaked out that Georges Jobe had passed away I felt a deep sadness. Here was a man who had fought his whole life, be it with his racing competitors or while recovering from his back injury. Jobe was a tough man, a man who didn’t take lightly to people who he felt were not correct. I got to know Georges a little better in his final years and also in his final months. Often calling him on skype and whether it was for an interview or just to say hello he remained confident he would beat the Leukemia.


I last spoke to him just prior to the Motocross of Nations and asked him his opinion on the event and also how he was doing. When he turned on his cam on skype I noticed he looked tired, but he remained strong in his attitude to the MXoN and his opinion on a number of things. October and November I didn’t see Georges on skype or facebook anymore. I started wondering how he was doing, and then on December 19 of 2012 I heard the news that he has passed. It is amazing to think he is gone. Only 51 years old, the same age as me. All those years of training, staying fit and trying to be as healthy as possible couldn’t stop the terrible decease of cancer taking his life.

Joel Smets on Jobe

You know I remember as a child I was into BMX and one day we had an event in the backyard of Georges Jobe. I had obviously known who Georges was and while he hadn’t won a World title yet he was a big name in Belgium. You don’t get to see a factory work shop very often, as a fan or media, you don’t get to see a factory workshop much. It was a dream come true to see the factory workshop of Jobe. I wasn’t so much a fan of his as Roger De Coster, but after visiting the Suzuki factory and meeting Georges I straight away began to follow his progress much more. Roger retired when I was 10 and I did get to see his final moto win in Luxembourg, and the generation after that I was just a fan of the sport and not really of a


single rider. I don’t have to say because he has passed that he was my hero, but I did have that moment in his workshop and in his backyard and I never forgot that experience. He was somebody who always gave 100% and he wasn’t the sort of guy you tried to back into a corner, because he would come out fighting. He always gave it everything he had in the sport of Motocross and also after his injury and sickness he never gave up. Around the time of the Motocross of Nations in Lommel I gave him a call. That was really an emotional phone call. I knew he has been through a tough period in hospital. I thought let’s give him a call and cheer him up a bit and when he picked up the phone he sounded so strong and I was surprised. I told him I thought it was a good idea to call you and he was excited that I was with the riders and he gave the riders advice on what we need to do. He was really enthusiasm and quickly gave the boys a motivational talk; it was really a special moment for the riders and for Georges. I remember in the later part of his career when I was also racing. We had battles, but never anything dirty happened between us, he was always a clean rider and I felt he had started to respect me as a racer also. The season he won his last championships I finished fourth in the points and we had a mutual respect for each other. We always stayed in touch, I wasn’t visiting his house all the time, but we had a good warm contact and then he started getting in trouble with his health and I really felt for him, all these things happening after his career and I tried to support him with phone calls or a sms message or something like that. Georges was also a guy who missed the racing, we talked a lot about time I would have to retired and I noticed then how emotional he could be, but that motivational speech to the riders before the Motocross of Nations he was just tough and to the point. I had a lot of talks with him over the years and I remember how determined he was and how much the sport meant to him. I had spoken to him not long before he passed and I had the feeling he was going to win this fight also, but unfortunately he didn’t.


Two five times World Motocross Champions George and Roger De Coster back at Namur in the mid 1990 course both were heros of Smets and both also goo


GET THE UNFAIR TACTICAL ADVANTAGE []

4 STROKE


TACTICAL GROUND WARFARE [] THE BATTLEFIELD HAS CHANGED WITH THE ALL NEW 2013 S7 EXHAUST As far as tactical weapons go, DEP’s all new 2013 S7 Race systems arm you with a new innovative shape silencer which incorporates 32% more packing material, sustaining peak horsepower performance and extending time between repacking intervals. To ensure stability of this tactical weapon, all new dual or single ultra wide stainless steel wrap brackets are fitted. If that hasn’t got you sold on a tactical upgrade? Check out the sprung two-piece silencer design that allows for more flex to the system, easier installation and ultimately a quicker re-packing interval. All systems feature DEP’s state of the art Boost header pipe, which provides superior throttle response and increased over rev to the stock system.

DEP PIPES +44 (0)1622 765353 WWW.DEPPIPES.COM

MANUFACTURER:

CI SPORT +44 (0)1372 378000 WWW.CISPORT.CO.UK

UK DISTRIBUTOR:

2 STROKE


^R&D:

^DOB:

001-9-009.7/01 SD/CA/USA


GAMMA _ DESIGNED FROM THE INSIDE OUT.

WE DEVELOPED A BETTER WAY TO PROTECT YOUR HEAD BY STARTING CLOSER TO IT.

THE RESULT IS AN OPTIMAL STRENGTH TO WEIGHT RATIO. SOFTER, MORE IMPACT ABSORBING MATERIALS ARE POSITIONED CLOSER TO YOUR HEAD, AND HARDER MATERIALS AWAY SAVING VALUABLE WEIGHT. PROGRESSIVE IMPACT PROTECTION AND CUTTING EDGE STYLE THAT COULD ONLY COME OUT OF THE ONE INDUSTRIES DESIGN LAB.

I AM ONE ONEINDUSTRIESEUROPE.COM +44 1392 366 742 INFO@ONEINDUSTRIESEUROPE.COM


JOSH HILL ANOTHER COMEBACK Story By Eric Johnson Images By Simon Cudby In my office, Josh Hill, sitting in a chair and munching on a bag of SnackWells and drinking a can of “old scho ol” Hansen’s Natural Energy (the precursor to Monster Energy) reflected on his day at the Suzuki test track. Now part of the recently christened RCH Suzuki team (owned and operated by 15-time AMA Champion Ricky Carmichael and Freestyle Motocross icon Carey Hart), Hill, after an almost mercilessly run of bad luck, injuries and medical challenges, was in go od spirits, now healed up, healthy and at “100%” for the 2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series.


It’s been a rough three years for the 23 year-old from Clackamas, Oregon (who now calls Newport Beach home), but Hill, while doing some serious soul searching, has kept at it – despite all the ups-and-downs – and is now in full fighting trim and more than ready to line up at Angel Stadium in a fortnight’s time. The youngest rider in AMA Supercross history to win a 450cc Main Event - at Minneapolis in 2008 – Josh Hill, whose 2012 Supercross season lasted one start straight (Hill was caught up in a first turn crash at Anaheim 1 and broke his Tibula), is keen to get back to his winning, front-running ways in 2013. Josh, so you just came down off the big hill in Temecula where you were bashing out laps at the Suzuki test track, huh? Yeah we had another photo shoot and we did some testing and after that we just went through the whole race day program. So you guys went through a whole routine of what goes down on race day? I don’t think I’ve heard of a team doing that before… Yeah, we try and do it. On normal training days we’ll probably do more laps, but today, we kind of went through a routine where we’ll do a couple of heat races and qualifiers and a main event. It’s cool. It was good today. Was RC out there? Yeah, RC was out there. He actually put on some gear and started doing some laps with [Carey] Hart. Me and Tickle were all done so we hung out and watched. Max Anstie was also out there doing some laps. The track was perfectly prepped and I went out and tried to match the track record. Word has it that you have the track record up there… Yeah, well Stewart hasn’t really been out there too much. The thing is the track, when it’s right, is like Velcro. So I’ve gotten to ride it more and have been on the track a lot more than James. But, yeah, I guess I do have the fastest time. Have you seen James out at the track? Yeah, I’ve seen him ride. The guy is amazing. He’s always riding awesome. Even when he’s out there riding with us and we’re trying to chase him down, he can bump it a little more of he needs to. How’s Ricky to deal with? Is he cool? Is he a hard ass? If you’re doing what you need to be doing, he’s cool as be – which is great. What’s cool with him is that when we’re testing, he’ll end the day hopping on the bike and go out and give us his two cents on it. You know it’s not like he’s getting the final say on what’s going to be on my motorcycle but he definitely gives me good input to it. Josh, when was it that you hurt yourself with the ill-fated backflip attempt? It was July in 2010. It was right before the X Games. I got mangled. It really wasn’t that bad of an injury at first. I thought I broke my femur and arm and I


was fine with that. I was laughing on the way to the hospital and once I got some pain medicine in me I wasn’t feeling too much pain. After the first surgery, that’s when things took a turn for the worse and I developed Compartment syndrome (Note: Compartment syndrome is a limb threatening which occurs after an injury, when there is not a sufficient amount of blood to supply the muscles and nerves with oxygen and nutrients because of the raised pressure within the compartment such as the arm, leg or any enclosed space within the body and leads to nerve damage because of the lack of blood supply.) I was paralyzed from the knee cup down. I still don’t have feeling in the bottom of my foot and I can’t my move my toes individually. It was a big injury and I just had to learn to adapt and get strong enough to just race motocross again. And then you finally made it back to ride the Nationals last summer at Washougal… Yeah… I was working hard over the summer. When I went to go do some outdoor races, I wasn’t just quite ready yet and my equipment really wasn’t there for me. It was just a real downer because I worked hard all summer and wanted to have some good results and they didn’t come and I was thinking about hanging it up. Luckily, I got another shot and I got healthy. Now things are going great. So you almost packed it in, huh? Yeah, I was contemplating it. I’d never really pack it in and quit riding, but I contemplated not trying to race supercross. I was thinking about going to Germany or Canada… I still wanted to race my bike, but I knew if I didn’t get healthy that I wasn’t going to be racing. Luckily, I hit the lottery and got good equipment.


When did you start feeling 100% again? It was kind of funny, man. I quit. I didn’t ride for two months after Southwick. All I did was ride my BMX bike every day. I went skate parks and would just hang out with my buddies. I stayed active, but I wasn’t riding dirt bikes. Finally, I came back to it. I had to go to a Shift “RIDE ON!” tour out in Georgia. I hopped on the bike and thought I’d be feeling real rusty, but I had a really fun day. I felt good riding the bike. I felt comfortable and didn’t feel like I was getting held back too much. So then I flew back into town and I was just riding my blown-out outdoor bike on supercross with my little brother and I just started to feel it again. That’s when I got the call to come down and try the Suzuki. Pretty much when I got on the Suzuki, things just really started to click for me. I got my confidence back. I started feeling like my old self again. I wasn’t scared. Last year, you know I had so many injuries that I never really had time to just ride my bike and have fun and just get back into my own pace again. It was more like, “Hey, I have to race in two weeks!” So I put a pressure a lot on myself to go fast and weird stuff kept happening and I kept finding myself on the ground. You’ve been on the sidelines for almost three years. During the last two supercross seasons you’ve seen you guys like Dungey, Canard and Villipoto win main events. You’ve won main events and been on the podium numerous times. Was it frustrating for you to watch those guys do so well when you know you would have been right in the mix? It was frustrating, but I don’t take anything away from those guys. Trey Canard’s a great kid and I’m glad to see him doing well. It hurt me to see him have so many injuries and all the problems he had and getting landed on and things like that. I mean, where I’m at, I’m just kind of looking forward. I never hated on any of those people having success, I just wanted to always getting back to me having suc cess. That’s all I thought about. At times it seemed really far-fetched. Man, I don’t know exactly what’s happening. Maybe the hard work is just finally starting to pay off and starting to materialize to where I feel like I can be myself again. I think I can be better than I was. I did well before but I never really went the extra mile in training. I rode a lot but I was never too scheduled and on too much of a regimen. I think things are going well. Things are going good. A few of us think you’re going to be a “sleeper” of 2013 and be able to find the podium… There are a lot of fast people this year. It’s going to be one of the toughest years ever to do that. Press day is just around the corner for Anaheim and I get to ride that because I’m one of the 10 riders racing this series that’s won a main event. I guess it’s the first time in history that that’s ever been the case. This year is going to be a tough year to get on the podium. I’m hoping this year is going to be a building year and hopefully next year I’ll come into it as a legitimate threat again. But I mean like I said, that’s a long ways away and I just have to gaining momentum and stay healthy. You’ve done it before. Do you think you can win again? I think I will win again. I don’t know how soon that’s going to come around, but I feel like I just keep gaining steam and I think I’ve adapted to this injury to where it’s not affecting me as much as maybe it should. My main focus now, 24/7, is riding my dirt bike.


Mark Barnett was the dominant AMA 125cc motocross racer of the early 1980s. “The Bomber� won three AMA 125cc National Motocross Championships from 1980 to 1982 and proved his versatility by winning the AMA Supercross Series in 1981. When he retired from racing in 1985, he was the all-time win leader in AMA 125cc Motocross history with 25 national wins in the class and was second to Bob Hannah on the all-time AMA Supercross wins list with 17 stadium victories. In addition to his four AMA championships, Barnett also had success on the international stage as a member of the winning 1983 Team U.S.A. Motocross and Trophee des Nations squad. He twice won the 125cc U.S. Grand Prix of Motocross. Barnett, born in 1960, grew up in


MARK BARNETT THE BOMBER STORY BY AMA IMAGES BY BUCKLEYPHOTOS.COM Bridgeview, Illinois. He learned to ride on a pull-start minibike as a kid and began racing motocross by the age 10 in Illinois and Indiana. He rapidly became the dominant rider in whatever class he competed. As a boy, Barnett was a big fan of Belgium motocross star Sylvain Geboers. He saw first saw Geboers race a factory Suzuki in a Trans-AMA race in Wisconsin. At 15, Barnett earned national recognition by winning an AMA amateur championship. After he turned 16, Barnett hit the national circuit on a privateer Suzuki. In his 1977 rookie pro season, the Midwesterner turned some heads by scoring three top-10 finishes in the 125cc nationals and finishing sixth in the final

standings. In 1978, Barnett signed his first factory contract with Suzuki, paying him $1,000 per month. Later, at the height of his career, Barnett would sign a three-year, one million dollar contract with the company. Barnett was one of the few riders from the Midwest to earn a factory ride at the time. “It was tough to get recognition if you didn’t grow up racing in California,” Barnett said. “I won some key amateur races at the right time and then went out and raced a season in the nationals on my own to prove myself. I think growing up racing in the Midwest gave me an advantage when the nationals came back East. I was used to the mud, ruts and roots.” On April 23, 1978, Barnett won his first AMA 125cc National riding the factory Suzuki in Houston, Texas. A

shoulder injury put an early end to his 1978 campaign and hampered his return early in 1979, but by the end of the year Barnett was fully healed and closed out the season with a string of consecutive victories in the 125 nationals and finished runner up to Broc Glover in the series. Perhaps his biggest confidence booster that year was winning the 125cc U.S. Grand Prix of Motocross at Mid-Ohio against the world’s best. He also scored his first AMA Supercross victory in July of 1979 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in front of 79,000 fans. Barnett called the LA Supercross victory one of the most memorable in his career. In the race, Jeff Ward led early before losing the lead to Gaylon Mosier. Barnett worked his way to the front and passed Mosier late in the race, as did Mike Bell. For the final two laps, Barnett and Bell battled fever-


ishly, with Barnett taking the checkered flag by a bike length over Bell with the throng of fans cheering enthusiastically.

that season. In spite of missing the final round, Barnett set a number of AMA winning-streak records that would stand for over 20 years.

By then, Barnett had moved to his grandmother’s 400-acre ranch in Alabama. He quickly became known as perhaps the strongest rider on the circuit, not only from weight training, but also from hauling hay in the hot Alabama summer sun. Unlike many of his peers, Barnett, who had a quiet and polite demeanor, avoided fast cars and high living and lived a uncomplicated life on the farm eating fresh vegetables he grew in his garden and riding countless hours on the practice track and surrounding woods of the ranch.

If the 1981 AMA Supercross and 125 Motocross Championships weren’t enough, Barnett put an exclamation mark on his unbelievable season by humiliating the Europeans at Mid-Ohio in the 1981 125cc U.S. Grand Prix. He lapped the field up to 10th place in the first moto and was nearly two minutes ahead of the second-place rider at the finish. In the second moto, he came from dead last in a pouring rain to win again. Motorcyclist magazine said the one consolation the Europeans had when they returned home was that Barnett didn’t go with them.

After chasing Glover for three years, Barnett dethroned the reigning 125 motocross king in 1980. But Glover didn’t go down without a fight. The 1980 125 national championship was a battle all the way to the final moto. In the searing August heat of St. Petersburg, Florida, Barnett finally took home the victory and with it the trophy that Glover had a stranglehold on for years. He had just turned 20 when he won the championship.

Barnett was runner up in the 1982 supercross series and went on to defend his 125 Motocross title in a close battle over Johnny O’Mara. It marked his fourth AMA championship.

“I’d say the biggest rival of my career was Glover,” Barnett would later say. “He was the rider everyone was shooting for when I came into the sport and we had a lot of great races along the way.” In 1980, his first full season of AMA Supercross, Barnett finished fourth in the series. While Barnett was coming into his own by 1980, no one could have dreamed he would experience one of the most dominant seasons in AMA Motocross and Supercross history in 1981. That year, he gave Suzuki its first AMA Supercross Championship, winning a series-best six races along the way. In the 125 nationals, Barnett was simply unstoppable. He won 14 straight motos and seven consecutive nationals en route to the title. He broke his collarbone at home practicing and was forced to miss the final national. That was very likely the only thing that kept him from turning in the first undefeated season in AMA motocross history. As it was, he won 14 of the 16 motos

In 1983, Barnett finally relinquished the AMA 125 Motocross Championship after he experienced a tough string of mechanical problems with his bike. In the 1983 AMA Supercross Series, Barnett led most of the season, but again had bike problems late in the season and lost the title to David Bailey by just two points. “That was my most disappointing year,” Barnett admitted. “I should have won the ’83 supercross championship. I was in a battle all year with Bailey, but the bike broke on me [in the Foxboro, Massachusetts race] and I lost 25 points and it cost me the championship.” In 1984, Barnett moved to the 250 motocross class for the first time. He had some good results, but suffered a knee injury and finished fifth in the final standings. It was then that he felt the desire to stay on top was beginning to wane. “Maybe I was getting tired or maybe the other guys were just getting better,” Barnett admitted. “I won very early in my career and I think it’s tough to maintain that level for any length of time.” In 1985, he signed with Kawasaki, but re-injured his knee and never regained the speed he had before the injury. Barnett decided to retire after the ‘85 season.


DECADE EUROPE/7'2I多FLDO8.GLVWULEXWRURI$WODV


)RU'HDOHUHQTXLULHVFRQWDFW_w:ZZZGHFDGHHXURSHFRP_e:LQIR#GHFDGHHXURSHFRP_t: 01792-469811


OLD SCHOOL

Old school motocross always has something special about it. I just love these images ad three riders fight through the forrest, a single lined circuit with a small gathering of fans watching. Riding gear was something else in the 50s and 60s as riders were clothed in their daily clothing, and as you can see by the spectator on the right the crowd would often wear their best suits.


JAMES STEWART I am not a big James Stewart fan, but you have to love this image of the former fastest man on the planet in his new seven gear. Just look at those colors and you can tell the Americna hero is at speed. This is what Motocross is all about.


KEN ROCZEN Simon Cudby is to AMA what Ray Archer is to FIM. Both brilliant photographers with great work ethic. I just love the colors in this image of Cudby’s as former World MX2 Champion Ken Roczen blasts out of the start in Anaheim I.


JOEL ROELANTS Joel Roelants is the new boy in the MX1 class and everyone is excited to see how he does against the big boys. Obviously the Monster Energy Yamaha team have faith in his talents. Yamaha image


James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto, two of the best of their respective eras and multiple AMA Championships to their names. While Anaheim I wasn’t a total success for either guy you can’t count them out any championship until it is over.


DECADE EUROPE/7'2I多FLDO8.GLVWULEXWRURI81,7


WILHELM CAP COLOUR: GREY MARLE / BLACK DESCRIPTION: FLATBRIM FLEXFIT CAP FABRIC: COTTON TWILL EMBROIDERED LOGO, WOVEM LABELS

WAFFEN HOODY COLOUR: LIGHT GREY MARLE / BLACK FABRIC: 80% COTTON, 20% POLYESTER LIGHT PLASTISOL PRINTS ON CHEST & BACK, QUILTED JERSEY HOOD LINING

SYNC PANTS COLOUR: BLACK / SAND / DARK GREY FABRIC: 100% COTTON CHINO STYLE STRAIGHT LEG PANT, STITCHED/EMBROIDERED LOGOS, BRANDED HARDWARE, CLEAR HD PRINT ON POCKET

)RU'HDOHUHQTXLULHVFRQWDFW_w:ZZZGHFDGHHXURSHFRP_e:LQIR#GHFDGHHXURSHFRP_t: 01792-469811


001-9-009.7/01 SD/CA/USA ^DOB:

^R&D:

LESS WEIGHT ` MORE SPEED DEFCON RACEWEAR // For 2013, we found a way to shave even more weight off our premier Defcon racewear without sacrificing anything. Less weight, more speed. At less than 1.8 lbs, the Defcon pant is one of the lightest, competition spec pants on the market.

ONE IND ATHLETE _// HUNTER HEWITT JERSEY / PANT_// DEFCON RED HELMET_// GAMMA CRYPTO GLOVE_// ZERO RED MZ _// 32°56’27.99”N 115°47’18.84”W elev 285 ft


I AM ONE ONEINDUSTRIESEUROPE.COM

+44 1392 366 742 INFO@ONEINDUSTRIESEUROPE.COM


Photos: Taglioni S., Archer R.

cairoli and herlings world champions!

DÉJÀ-VU Tony Cairoli takes his third MX1 World Championship title on the KTM 350 SX-F still with races in hand. And after Marvin Musquin (2010) and Ken Roczen (2011), Jeffrey Herlings, riding the KTM 250 SX-F has ensured that the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team remains unbeaten in both classes for the last three years – WORLD CLASS!

facebook.ktm.com KTM Group Partner


JosĂŠ Butron MX2 World Championship Photograph: Bavo Swijgers

EVOLUTION FOOTPEGS

Scar Racing Evolution Footpegs are CNC Machined from 2017 T6 aircraft aluminium and are truely an evolution of the original Scar Footpegs. Exceptional grip with the new sharpened inserts manufactured from high strength tempered steel, Evolution footpegs are ideal for extreme conditions, such as sand and mud. The Footpeg body is 57mm wide, which is a full 10mm wider than standard models and provides vastly improved comfort and control. Available for Japanese and European motorcycles.

To locate a dealer or for more information visit www.scar-racing.com Find Scar Racing elsewhere online:

facebook.com/scar.racing

twitter.com/ScarRacing


DAVID THORPE COLUMN Dave Thorpe talks about a few things this month. Obviously the passing of friend and former rival Georges Jobe is in his thoughts. Thorpe travelled to Belgium last month to show his respect at the funeral of Jobe and talks about the legend of Georges Jobe in this month’s column. Georges was a racer always committed, Georges was a little older than me and when I was growing up and coming into the Grand Prix’s and he got the short end of the straw because when Suzuki pulled out he was the last to know and by the time he found out the spots in the HRC team had been taken up. So he had the chance to ride for Kawasaki and the true of the matter was our material was a lot better, better organized and the team to be in at that time. So Georges always had it tough in the 500cc class, battled against two or three guys depending who was in the team and three identical bikes that were clearly better than the competition. As he did he never gave up and he got some wins and we had some battles, but that really made it difficult. He was always a fighter and he probably knew his bikes were not as good as ours. I remember a race at Farleigh Castle and

Georges and Kurt Nicoll were having a good battle. It was in 1987 and I had just come back from a shoulder injury and I wasn’t riding that well. I mean we all had something happen where somebody had too many beers and would throw some at the riders. I mean at Farleigh Castle Georges was the rider who got the short end of the stick and was covered in beer. I remember him going up into the announcer’s box and telling the crowd what he thought and that was just typical Georges. Put him in a corner and he will come out swinging. He wouldn’t sit in a corner and cover up, he would come out swinging. We didn’t have much to do with each other after our careers. We could see each other and have a chat, always got on well. To me he was just a really nice guy a good professional and a winner, but really just a nice guy. I think we have a respect for each other. I said to my wife as I am getting older I am going to


Ray Archer images


more funerals and less weddings, and that is a sign of getting old and it’s very upsetting. It is life really and we have to show people respect. Honda Off-Road Centre The Honda Off Road centre is really in full swing, we are getting ready for our first event, and that is really a big thing for Honda to allow people who haven’t have experience on Off-road. We just want their first experience to be a good one. Generally these are road bike people who want to experience the off road thing. Honda has a great 250F, which you can ride at the Honda Off-Road centre. This is one of the bikes we want to introduce to people who want to ride and have fun. A lot of people ask me where can I ride and have some fun. What we have is three Motocross tracks, for kids, adults and also more experienced riders, we also have a trials track also a forestry and there you have Enduro and also just trail riding. It’s a great venue. Every time I got there I come back with a big smile on my face. There are a few places like that in the UK. Pontypridd, its just 15 miles from Cardiff. Generally speaking these venues are in the middle of nowhere, but this is easy to get to via train or road. Buildbase Honda Team We have a little bit of frustration at the minute because the new Honda 450 and everyone is trying to do catch up with wheels and exhausts pipes and plastics and we are working on the engine right now. We should have been training in Belgium with Steve, but that happens next week now. It’s a new bike and not being a Grand Prix team we are slightly down on the pecking order and we need bigger fuel tanks and other stuff for Le Touquet. I don’t know if Steve is the favourite to win the Maxxis, but I think we have a good chance to win it and I think because we don’t do the Grand Prixs we only have 15 races on our schedule and the lads who are doing the Maxxis and the World Championships have the 18 Grand Prixs and also the Maxxis, so a lot more. Our riders will be fit and ready. I feel we have a good chance to win the Championships and we have a lot of sand races, which will suit Steve and Nicolas (Aubin). The hard bit for Steve will be to learn the circuits this year, but he will be okay. It is difficult for us as a team, the riders might do Hawkstone and Valence, but for the team we really only support the Maxxis and the Red Bull. They will probably do those International races, but not with our support as a team. It is still tough times with teams struggling for money and whatever. I don’t think there are many teams who feel funding it easy right now.


HNR TUNING Throughout the year HNR Tuning Netherlands led by Harry Nolte builds hundreds of competitive racing engines all over Europe. With the services of tuning, repairing and maintenance we decided to answer the request of a large majority of our customers to start selling products of some of the famous brands in the market. Our warehouse is filled with a large stock of Kawasaki and Pro Circuit parts. Recently we started a collaboration with Samco Sports, producer of high quality silicon radiator kits in all branches of motorsports. HNR Tuning Netherlands is provides from stock for most KTM and Kawasaki bikes. Of course kits for other brands are fast speed delivery. Besides the high quality of the Samco kits, our prices are very attractive. Soon we also expect the delivery of a large stock of Thor apparel. You can tell us your wishes or place an request. We will inform you about prices and delivery times on your request. HNR Tuning Netherlands is developing and testing constantly to find for each rider, young and old the right set up. We improved already the engine power greatly for all new 2013 Kawasaki and KTM models from 65 up to 450cc. Are you interested in our services, please do not hesitate and feel free to contact us, our team is always on hand.


HNR TUNING Kievitsven 60 5249 JK, The Netherlands Telephone 0031735230302 mobile 0031646231987


A PREMIUM TIE-DOWN SET WITH TO SOFT LOOP HOOK, SWIVEL CARABINEER AND NAME PLATE

PVC 2FT X 6FT WORK MAT AVAILABLE IN FACTORY TEAM COLOURS

DECADE EUROPE/7'2I多FLDO8.GLVWULEXWRURI0$75,;


THE ABS PLASTIC HI-STRENGTH BIKE STAND THAT YOU CAN PERSONALIZE

)RU'HDOHUHQTXLULHVFRQWDFW_w:ZZZGHFDGHHXURSHFRP_e:LQIR#GHFDGHHXURSHFRP_t: 01792-469811


WITH A WORLDW EXPERIENCE OF AND CONSTRUC CAN MAKE YOU BECOME REALI

A PRACTICE TRACK IS WITHOUT DOUBT THE GREATEST VALUE FOR MONEY A RIDER COULD EVER GET.

MOTOCROSS LIKE ANY SPORT CAN ONLY BE MASTERED WITH MANY HOURS OF PRACTICE

Terraforma MX Circuit Design

I www.terraformamx.com


WIDE F DESIGN CTION, WE UR IDEAS ITY

TERRAFORMA CAN OFFER AN UNRIVALLED QUALITY OF FINISH, AND FOR LESS THAN YOU MIGHT THINK.

FROM BACKYARD TRACKS TO GRAND PRIX VENUES, TERRAFORMA SPECIALISE IN THE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF MOTOCROSS CIRCUITS

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT WWW.TERRAFORMAMX.COM

+44 (0)7968 041186

I info@terraformamx.com


MAX NAGL HIS TIME FOR A CHANGE STORY GEOFF MEYER IMAGES HONDA RACING

German rider Max Nagl had a very up and down season in 2012. Starting the GP’s on the sidelines with an injured back the veteran came back into the series at mid-point and quickly showed that he is as fast as just about anyone. Having ridden for the Red Bull KTM Factory team for several seasons it was a big surprise to Nagl that he wouldn’t be involved in 2013. A few injuries in the last couple of years and Ken De Dycker showing go od speed as a replacement rider for Nagl ended up being enough for KTM to end their association with the friendly Nagl. Just like he has done throughout his career though Nagl lo oked forward and set new goals. Now with the Honda World Motocross team Nagl is finding out that change is go od and he is working hard to improve on what was already go od form. We caught up with Nagl at his home in Germany and talked to him about the new Honda 450 and also his past with KTM and their lead rider Antonio Cairoli.


Motocross Illustrated: Max, how are you dealing with the change from KTM to Honda? Nagl: It is a good bike of course, and I was surprised about the difference between the two bikes. I had not ridden a Japanese bike for 10 years and the difference is huge. The Honda handles better, and it is lighter and the corner and jumping is easier. The power is a little less than the KTM, but I knew this before and everyone knows the KTMs have the most horsepower; the Honda is maybe two horsepower less than the KTM. But if the bike is lighter and the handling is better it isn’t that much of a problem. I was also surprised by the frame of the Honda, you have more weight for traction on the front wheel and less on the rear and that was the biggest thing I have to get used to and I feel really good on the bike. Motocross Illustrated: Watching you I always had the impression that because of the power of the KTM and your size that you sometimes had to be careful, that you were sometimes being ridden by the KTM rather than the other way around. Is that how it was for you? Nagl: That is true. My style has changed a lot because of that. With the KTM with a lot of power and difficult handling I used to push hard early and then get into a rhythm and slow down for the last part of the race. I had to play with bike to get to the finish. If I try that with the Honda it doesn’t work. With the Honda I need to push all the time and then the bike is easier to ride. If I slow down with the Honda like I did with the KTM it doesn’t work for me. With the Honda I get less tired than I did on the KTM because of the better handling and less power. Motocross Illustrated: So you are going to need to be much more aggressive on the Honda, which is also going to be a totally different way of riding for you? Nagl: Yes, I will have to be more intense and maybe some places more aggressive. Motocross Illustrated: Do you need to train differently with your body to make that change? Nagl: No, I didn’t change my training at all that stays the same. Motocross Illustrated: Ok, Antonio Cairoli wins everything in the second part of 2012, nobody can match him. Do you think he will continue to use that mentality, or maybe go back to his


safety first approach of just getting enough points, as he did before Sweden? Nagl: Ah, that is difficult to say, like you said at the end of last year he was really strong, he was riding with a lot of confidence and winning a lot of motos and GPs. I really don’t know what he might do. Motocross Illustrated: What do you need to do to beat him? You want to be World Champion right? Nagl: Of course and I will try hard and I am in a different team now and I have the chance to improve. Of course he will be strong again, he is in a rhythm for winning GPs and races, but maybe somebody can stop it, I will try my best. Motocross lllustrated: Winning the last race of the year in Lommel, winning the team event, does that change your attitude, do you have more confidence now? Nagl: It gave me a lot of confidence, but for the Grand Prix season it doesn’t make any difference for me. I just have a new experience with the new team and a new motivation. Maybe that gives me the little step to make an improvement. Motocross Illustrated: The Martin Honda team is very much the family team in the paddock, really a nice atmosphere and very friendly. KTM seem to have gotten more professional in their approach the last years. What is your opinion on that? Nagl: Yes, if I look back a few years when I came to KTM it was the best team; it was a family, just like you mentioned about Martin Honda. For me it was the best team, everything was working well, but the last two or three years it changed a little in that direction and now it looks like the Martin Honda team has that family atmosphere. I have worked with them in Japan and Italy and it is like you said it is a really happy family feel-

ing. Motocross Illustrated: What has changed with KTM? They have a lot of success, the most successful team in the paddock for sure and also the most professional in their look. KTM is very much a big time business now. Do you agree? Nagl: I don’t want to talk anything bad about KTM, everything they did for me was great, I was really happy to be in that team, but I think it is a little like you said, they grow up and have a lot of success quickly, because they did a really good job, then came the road racing and America and of course that was a big step for KTM with money and also their image and maybe now it is more like you said, it is more like a business now. But KTM was great to me and I have nothing bad to say about them. Motocross Illustrated: Of course KTM didn’t want your services in 2013 and you had to find another ride. Is there a part of you wants to beat them? Are you holding any type of anger because you couldn’t stay? Nagl: When I got the message that I was out, of course I was angry, but that is normal, everyone would have that and then I was thinking about why and how and actually I thought maybe this is a good thing and it will bring me a new team and new challenge. I am not angry at all with them and I have good friendships with people at KTM and I have good contact with them and I am happy to see them at the first Grand Prix this year. Motocross Illustrated: But you want to beat them right? Nagl: Yes, but right now I am thinking opposite to that. I know the goal of Honda is to beat KTM, I felt that right from the start of the negotiations with Honda, which was their goal. For me if I am for example on the podium I can stay in front of a KTM and, if I can get a podium the team will be so proud and happy,

that is my goal, we will all be happy. Motocross Illustrated: Why is Antonio Cairoli so good? You have been his team-mate, you know him well? What makes him so dominant? Nagl: I think it isn’t about his training, because I know him and I know he isn’t training harder or better than other riders. He isn’t doing something really special in that area, but he never gets tired. Doesn’t matter where, even in Lommel two times 40 minutes and he still doesn’t get tired, he is pushing 100% when everyone else is tired and I don’t know how he does it, but that is why he is so strong. He pushed all the way until the end of the moto and others can’t do that. Motocross Illustrated: Speaking to Ken De Dycker about training with Antonio and he feels it has a lot to do with his mental approach. To me Antonio never looks flustered; he always looks happy and cool. Nagl: Yes, I mean he has six titles and he wins nearly all the Grand Prixs, so he doesn’t get stressed, I think that is a part of it, but even after not getting stressed you should get tired after such a tough race as Lommel. I really don’t know how he does it. Motocross Illustrated: Do you think you will be his main rival in 2013? Nagl: There are many good riders this year and I hope I am one of his rivals. Motocross Illustrated: Do you like the calendar for 2013? Are there races you look forward to? Nagl: I like the whole series. I would prefer not to go overseas, of course I don’t like to Mexico or Brazil. The first Grand Prix in Qatar, that is going to be something really special and hopefully it will be really a nice race, because I think it is important for the sport to have a race like this, something that is really exciting for the riders and people involved. For the rest I like all the races, so for me its fine.


Photo: Taglioni S., Archer R.

Jeffrey Herlings MX2 WORLD CHAMPION!

ORANJE The young Dutch rider from the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team celebrates his Ä&#x;UVWVHQLRU:RUOG&KDPSLRQVKLSWLWOHWKUHHGD\VEHIRUHKLVth birthday. Following 7\OD5DWWUD\LQ0DUYLQ0XVTXLQLQDQGDQG.HQ5RF]HQLQ +HUOLQJVLVWKHÄ&#x;IWKULGHULQDURZWRWDNHWKH0;:RUOGWLWOHZLWKWKH.706;)

facebook.ktm.com KTM Group Partner


GUENNADY MOISSEEV This is the Championship winning bike of Guennady Moisseev the Russian three-time Grand Prix motocross world champion. He was the 1974 F.I.M. world champion in the 250cc class on a KTM motorcycle. He won two more 250 world championships in 1977 and 1978, again while riding KTM motorcycles. In 1978 he was a member of the winning Russian team in the Motocross des Nations. Moisseev, like many Russian sports stars of his era, was enlisted in the Russian Army, rising to the ranks of Major during his racing career. His extreme fitness combined with team tactics made him a fearsome competitor.


Antonio Cairoli This man has the World at his feet and a whole sport in the palm of his hand. Antonio Cairoli back in 2005 before he had won a single World Motocross Championships, but was still a fan favourite. Always friendly, happy and enjoying his racing. Little different to some of his American and European rivals. Geoff Meyer image


ZACH OSBORNE Another Simon Cudby image as Zach Osborne gets air at the opening round of the AMA Supercross Championship. Lets hope the American can perform to his level and produce some victories in 2013. Simon Cudby image


KTM READY TO RACE STORY BY TINUS NEL IMAGE BY GEOFF MEYER

Life sometimes has a way of popping up strange coinciden-

ces and similarities at you. The same traffic officer catches you on successive weeks approaching the speed of sound on the way to the same grandmother’s funeral. On the three occasions that your crush actually notices you, you are wearing the same shirt, making it lo ok for all the world that you have the world’s slimmest wardrobe. That kind of thing. As I buttoned up my cardigan, took the first few puffs on my pipe and started tottering down amnesia lane, reminiscing about the relationship of Vangani Racing with KTM throughout the years, stitching the memories together one by one, one of those coincidences walked at me through the mists of memory, and slapped me across the forehead with a dead fish. How is it I never noticed before? France. The country of endless peages and cheese that is matured in old farmers’ boots. The country of steak raw enough to still run away when you approach with a knife. The country of Bercy and many racing greats. A motocross country. Even so, it is strange that such an inordinate number of events that serve as milestones in our relationship to the Austrian brand should have a link to the Gallic country. We were never based there, although, of course we did race there quite often. It is, of course, the also the country that provides the most traction while you’re on a headlong rush to Portugal or Spain. Enough of obfuscation, then. We’ve got some clarification to do. Let us time travel a decade-and-a-smidgen back. Many riders who know have world championship trophies propping up the bookshelf, were still dealing with pesky pimples and other mysteries of teen-

age life back then. In 1998, Grant Langston was reeling off a début world championship season on a Kawasaki. There were flashes of brilliance, interspersed by moments of sheer frustration big enough to render it a major miracle that his team elders still had hair left. At Castelnau De Levis in France, though, the puzzle pieces fit together like newlyweds, and he stormed to a top 10 GP result for the first time. Jaded team managers who thought they had their plans for 1999 all set, reshuffled the cards, and the calls and hieroglyphic-font SMS’s started dropping in. (Remembered that, compared to today, mobile phones were pretty much steam-driven back then). One of the offers was from Kees Van Der Ven’s CHAMP KTM squad. This created quite a bit of a dilemma. There was interest from just about everyone else, including a dream ride with a Japanese manufacturer, and KTM, having recently been rescued from plunging off the financial cliff, were not the force that they are today. It was by no means as obvious a choice as it would be nowadays. Neither the company nor its products had yet reestablished firm confidence in the market place, yet there were promising signs. “The one big benefit of riding for a smaller factory is that you are more than a mere number,” I recall myself saying.”If you do go with them and bring them good results, you


will be treated like an absolute king.” After some to-and-froing, the signature appeared on the KTM contract and the rest, as the saying goes, is history. A few months down the line, the phone jingled. Would I like to see the new KTM rider in a race? Would I ever!. The race was in Donnery, France. It is an obscure little race with no championship value whatsoever and a good six hours drive away, but it just so happened that I had to get some milk that you can only find in the supermarket in that very village, so all worked out well. The race at Donnery is, as mentioned, not a championship race of any kind, nor is it particularly well attended spectator-wise, but for some reason the whole of France and his/her poodle takes notice of what happens there. More significant than the race on that occasion, though, was the introduction that was about to me made. Trotting through the pits, I was introduced to a racer that looked as if he was hewn from a solid slab of granite. Kurt Nicoll, no longer a spring chicken, could still heave a bike’s throttle with authority, and this, coupled to his undeniable experience and racing pedigree, earned him a spot as KTM’s main development rider for their then experimental fourstroke open class bike. The conversation went swimmingly, and a link was forged that would serve us all well in the years to come. A few years hence, Langston was in possession of a world title and we were again finding our way up the ladder with promising South African youngsters, particularly so Tyla Rattray. Most of the racing efforts were still self-funded, and money flew out of the wallet like a flight of swallows on migration. A few weeks into the year, whatever famous figures were depicted on the bank notes had learned more tenacity, and were clinging to the inside of wallet like leeches, and one was only able to dislodge them with liberal use of a crowbar aided by dollops of WD40. Our technical staff, headed up by Tyla’s stepfather Wayne Lumgair, always had the team’s interests at heart, budget and all. When a bee entered the managerial bonnet to enter for an international French race, therefore, there was much wise counsel against it. “It doesn’t count for anything, it will cost too much and we are still busy tuning and preparing the bikes for the season,” was the gist of the argument. “But, but, but racing is the best preparation, and we need to see where we stand. Moreover, Kurt Nicoll will be there racing, and if we impress him, who knows what might be the outcome,” was the managerial retort. Nicoll had by then been bumped upwards in the


hierarchy to KTM race director, and his backing would be valuable indeed. The managerial argument won out, and the Vangani Racing convoy lumbered down to Tilly-sur-Seulles in France. As soon as we arrived, the managerial argument seemed to be on slippery ground. We were met at the gate by a surly paddock manager who looked as if he had dived into the shallow end of the gene pool face-first. His huge pimple of a head seemed to jut straight out of his shoulders, without the usual insertion of a neck. The truck had to be towed to its place through mud that surely formed part of the primordial sludge. Not a good start. As is always the case in new racing environment, I went to introduce the riders to the track commentator. Riders look remarkably anonymous under their helmets, and there is no way that spectators can tell that a particular rider is only fourteen years old by just watching him flash by. If the riders happens to do well, the commentator will thus find a way of mentioning the fact that it is a mere toddler we are talking about. A neat marketing trick indeed. Again, the French factor intervened. As it so happened, the conditions suited Tyla like free Sangria suits a Sardinian peasant, and he kept some famous names behind him in the first race. The rain was pelting down between races when we heard an authoritative knock on the truck door. It was Kurt Nicoll. Now there is no weather so bad and no negotiation so tough between South Africans and Englishmen that it can not be fixed over a cup of strong tea, and before the day was done, a rough path had been sketched out for Tyla’s ascension through the ranks of KTM. Time rolled on and on, as is its nature, and Tyla established himself as a topline KTM rider with oodles of promise over the next few years. His first overall GP victory came in Spain, but it still felt hollow to him, for he had not yet won a GP race. A few races later, his day rolled along. After finishing ninth in the first heat, an overall victory looked as likely as a balanced Greek budget. An immaculate ride in the second heat brought him his first GP race win, and another overall victory, one of his sweetest ever. Guess what? It was at St Jean D’Angely, and if you look carefully on a map, you will see that it is in France


R E

RL

HAMPIO D C NS

H

IP

MOTO

CR

O

S

S

W

O

FOR MORE INFO P


S T A U R A N T

PLEASE CONTACT D.RIZZI@YOUTHSTREAM.ORG


HOLD ON TO YOUR HANDLEBARS Are you ready to wax the competition? FMF performance exhaust add Magnum sized power, and makes every 2–Stroke run like a Bandit. 2–Strokes give us a warm and fuzzy feeling because you don’t have to blow your entire stash to keep it running strong–like a deadly Texas Ranger. FMF salutes men who ride manly bikes–go fast and stay classy 2–strokers.

WWW.FMFRACING.COM FOLLOW AND LIKE OUR MO’S - @FMF73, #FMF


José Butron

MX2 World Championship Photograph: Bavo Swijgers

TRIPLE CLAMPS

+ Top triple clamp + Bottom triple clamp + Bar mount kit + Aluminium stem and “All Balls” bearing Scar Racing Triple Clamps are CNC machined using premium quality 7075 T6 aircraft aluminium. Top clamps offer four bar positions with our bar mounts and four different heights of bar mounts are available. Easy to install with pre-pressed stem and seal, with “All Balls” bearing. Available for Japanese and European motorcycles.

To locate a dealer or for more information visit www.scar-racing.com Find Scar Racing elsewhere online:

facebook.com/scar.racing

twitter.com/ScarRacing


Motocross Illustrated